The formation of museums
The 18th-century Age of Enlightenment had gifted the world an invaluable new way of thinking: reasoned argument based on the critical examination of evidence, particularly of objects, but of texts as well. It also gave the world a new type of institution – the museum. Here was an encyclopaedia of objects where expert and non-expert alike could examine the workings of the natural and man-made world for themselves.

In the 19th century, museum collections grew in size and scope. We learned more about each of the world’s cultures, past and present. Now, as the modern world grew smaller, we were able to discern the similarities and differences between cultures. What was it that made us human? The European model for museums spread around the world. In Turkey, museums displayed ancient cultures to promote an Ottoman imperial identity, then a Turkish national one.
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The formation of museums

Museums in Europe
Museums in the Arab and Ottoman world
Decoration of the Egyptian collection of Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna


Kunsthistorisches Museum, Egyptian Collection, Vienna, Austria

The museum display in Vienna evokes the ancient context in vivid style.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
The birth of archaeology
The formation of museums
Inspired by the past